Thierry Mugler’s second major feminine Alien has managed to become almost as popular and iconic as its sister fragrance Angel, which is no mean feat when you consider exactly how popular the latter is. Since its release in 2005 Mugler has released a plethora of Alien Editions, each of which has seemed better than the last, and it would be fair to say that the very latest edition ‘Alien Essence Absolue’ is the best yet, and they know it too hailing Essence Absolue as “The Supreme Perfume”.
What I love about the Thierry Mugler brand is that they are not afraid to experiment, not only with their flagship launches but also with their flankers. They may not always work (see Ice*Men) but they are always interesting and it’s great to see a brand really give a damn about the quality and artistry of all their fragrances. Personally, I didn’t think that Mugler could top the salted-caramel-goodness of Alien Le Goût de Parfum (released last year), but by jove they’ve gone and proved me wrong.
Alien Essence Absolue is the latest interpretation of Alien and serves as an oriental twist on the original. Created by Dominique Ropion (one of favourite perfumers FYI), who worked on the original as well as creating the Eau de Toilette, Eau Luminescente and Sunessence versions, Essence Absolue is a more intense interpretation that focuses on warm, resinous notes and intense flowers. Mugler describes it as “an intense amber, floral, vanilla perfume [...] a magnetic fragrance that illuminates the skin in a halo of light” – well if “magnetic” partly explains why my nose is currently stuck to my wrist then I’m all for it.
Sambac Jasmine, Heliotope, Orris, Cashmeran Wood, Myrrh, White Amber and Vanilla
How Does it Smell?
Alien Essence Absolue starts with the bright white citrus of Alien Eau de Parfum, except this time they appear to be more mouth-watering, dewy and lively due to a healthy sprinkling of pepper. The opening feels rounder & fuller than the original and it manages to permeate the air around you without being too loud or oppressive.
Now, if you’re familiar with the original Alien you will know that it showcased a rather intense (read: loud) jasmine note. Well, the jasmine isn’t exactly missing in Essence Absolue, but the florals have been intensified rather than amped up meaning that they are more luscious than they are intense. The addition of Heliotrope gives the jasmine an airy, sweet vibe and iris adds a beautifully soft powdery-ness that makes Essence Absolue feel silky smooth.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Essence Absolue is the addition of incense. Incense is an absolutely glorious material than can be dry, cold and austere but in Essence Absolute it is none of these things, instead it is warm, resinous and balsamic, adding to the overall rich and silky quality of the fragrance.
Alien Eau de Parfum makes use of a silky smooth material called cashmeran, and it is still put too good use in Essence Absolue, however instead of being supported by white musks as in the original, Ropion has paired it with an accord of white amber and the best damn vanilla EVER. Oh my that vanilla, my oh my, that velvety vanilla.
Speaking to Basenotes earlier this year, Thierry Mugler Olfactive Director Pierre Aulus spoke of the fragrance’s use of a vanilla pod absolute; “It has an absolut from the vanilla pod, the outside, which is far less sweet than vanillin, it is more the smell of the pod which has animalic tones to it” . He’s right, as you would expect him to be, the vanilla in Essence Absolue is not sweet or creamy, it is dry and velvety with spicy, resinous facets. It really is superb.
The original Alien Eau de Parfum is loud and diffusive, but it’s never heavy or rich. This version seems to be the opposite, rich, but soft, not loud. I see Alien Essence Absolue as the Queen of the Alien fragrances, it is the richest, most beautiful and most precious incarnation – a real goddess.
If you found Alien, and its subsequent offerings too much, or just not your bag then it would be worth seeking out Essence Absolue, it is very much a polished version of the original that is easier to love without compromising on the quality, artistry and sprit of Mugler’s already-classic original.
Alien Essence Absolue is housed within the familiar jewel-like bottle utilised for all fragrances within the Alien family, however this time the bottle is rounder and the juice is coloured like a “yellow burst of fire”.
The bottle (and juice) have been designed to represent a drop of gold. Thierry Mugler Olfactive Director described the bottle as being “callipyge” which roughly translated means “beautifully shaped buttocks”.
He certainly has a point….
Alien Essence Absolue is available in 30ml (£52.50) and 60ml (£69) refillable Eau de Parfum Intense. A 60ml refill bottle (£52) and 100ml Body Balm (£22) are also available. It will be exclusive to Selfridges in the UK until September.
Sample via Thierry Mugler. Images, notes and quotes via press release.  basenotes.net.